The Asbury Park Press recently reported on the resolution of a temporary restraining order filed in Monmouth County Superior Court against a Belmar officer. His estranged wife had apparently alleged domestic violence and obtained a temporary restraining order. It is unclear from the article as to whether the restraints were issued based on simple assault, harassment, terroristic threats or some other allegation of domestic violence. The order was subsequently dismissed by the Court and the acting chief has successfully regained his privilege to carry a weapon.
This report serves as an excellent illustration of the type of thing that can happen in NJ when it comes to a final restraining order. All it really takes to get a temporary restraining order in NJ is an allegation that some incident of domestic violence occurred and that the “victim” is in fear of his or her safety. The typical allegation is that there was an assault (simple assault or aggravated assault) or that threats were made. The step thereafter is to conduct a final restraining order hearing where all the evidence, including that of the defendant, is presented. In this case, the restraints were dismissed at or prior to the hearing.
I happen to know the Belmar police officer who was the defendant in this case and I honestly have a hard time believing that he would ever put himself in a position where a genuine order could be filed. This very well may have been an instance where someone obtained a temporary restraining order to obtain an advantage in a contemplated divorce case. While there are certainly more than enough bona fide instances of domestic violence in Monmouth County and elsewhere, this may have been been a situation destined for dismissal from the start.